Top broking chiefs seek stability and consistency as insurer seeks new UK head

Brokers say Adrian Brown’s exit from RSA has dealt the insurer a major blow. But they are hopeful of a turnaround and greater stability at the company.

Brown will leave RSA after 25 years to join Arthur J Gallagher as executive chairman of underwriting and distribution once his replacement has been found.

He has been at the helm of RSA’s UK operations for six years and was instrumental in the group’s actions to improve its financial strength after a series of profit warnings and the discovery of claims and accounting irregularities in Ireland.

Brightside chief executive Paul Williams said it was “critical” now for RSA to hang on to its talented senior team.

He added: “Adrian Brown has a great connectivity to brokers and his personal relationships with a number of them certainly helped carry RSA through some tough times. RSA is a key insurer for many brokers and I for one want to see them succeed in their turnaround.”

The hunt is now on for Brown’s replacement, who brokers say will need to bring stability to the market and continuity in the insurer’s trading relationships with brokers.

ICB Group chief executive Neil Campling said: “It’s a shame for RSA and another blow they could have done without at the moment. I think brokers will be disappointed, but RSA is not all about one person. Brown was really one person in their organisation who was very capable and probably would have contributed significantly to the solving some of the recent troubles they are going through.

“Whether it will affect the way brokers trade with RSA is more of a wider question in the longer term, depending on how they come through this. But their capability to come through has just been diminished.

“My instinct is to look from within – there have always been very capable people at RSA. If they can replace him with somebody from the business that would probably be the best thing in terms of stability.”

James Hallam managing director Paul Anscombe said: “What brokers want more than anything is continuity and consistency, which is really important in our sector. The amount of change that has happened is a concern in itself, so if someone is brought in without insurance experience that would also be a concern.”